The kickoff of the on-campus recruiting season began with the Business Opportunities Conference, organized by undergraduates at the Tepper School of Business. Despite an economic slowdown, student organizers lined up recruiters from 36 companies to talk about job opportunities. Students waited in line to give a quick pitch about their qualifications, with some landing a coveted interview the next day.
The students, wearing power suits and carrying freshly polished resumes, lined up for a chance to pitch themselves to recruiters. Then one by one, they explained why they deserved a second look. The Business Opportunities Conference, organized by undergraduates of the Tepper School of Business, brought together 594 students and 36 companies.
The student organizers had spent months lining up companies and organizing all the details of the Oct. 16 networking event, which was targeted to Tepper juniors and seniors but open to the entire campus.
“This summer, I personally emailed 250 companies,” said Jacob Yosafat, a junior who served as the BOC intern this summer. Yosafat, the only paid student organizer, and student volunteers managed to land a strong lineup of companies despite the sluggish economy.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Chrysler Group, The Boeing Company, UBS and Deloitte were among the companies that manned booths in the Wiegand Gymnasium in the University Center.
“It’s the kickoff of the on-campus recruiting season,” said Jennifer Frick, assistant director in the Career and Professional Development Center for the Tepper undergraduate program.
In the days leading up to the conference, Frick received a crush of resumes to review. She also gave tips to students on what they might say when the pressure is on and they are standing face-to-face with a recruiter. Keep it concise, she said, and give a pitch of just a minute or two.
Many students walked away from the meet-and-greets with job leads or a contact name. Others such as Kimberly Chan, 21, a senior and BOC co-chair, came away with something more tangible: a follow-up interview the next day with Boeing. “It’s a big deal,” she said beaming. “I didn’t expect an interview on the spot.”
Some of the recruiters wore maroon alumni ribbons. “Our alumni are very loyal, helping and mentoring the students,” Frick said.
Despite all the economic news, Chan was hopeful she would find a job before graduation. “I am in a Tepper class where you are required to make a presentation, develop a pitch. It teaches us how to present ourselves and how to dress,” said Chan, who was dressed in a sleek blue suit and made eye contact when she talked.
Recent history shows the odds are in her favor of landing a position. Tepper undergraduates boast a 91 percent “rate of resolution,” or the percentage of students who accept full-time employment, land an internship, go to graduate school, or in the case of international students, return to their home country.
Chan said that one item on her resume – co-chairing the BOC – particularly impressed recruiters there.
In the months leading up to the conference, Chan and co-chair Jackie Zhang oversaw about 16 committee members, who had to interview for the positions. Students did everything from marketing the event to ordering the right number of water bottles to securing corporate sponsorships.
The recruiters were impressed that the students had pulled off such a well-run event. “A lot of career fairs are coordinated by faculty and not students,” Chan said. “This is a different spin on it.”
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See a photo gallery from the event.